Pratt’s Sustainability Studies Minor Begins Today

PrattlogoPratt Institute’s fall semester starts today, and with it, the new Sustainability Studies minor officially begins.  See this post for a full list of courses in the minor.  Here’s an update on three courses with spaces left as the three-week add-drop period begins.

IND 487-01 Sustainability and Production has several spaces left.  Taught by Frank Millero, this seminar gives students experience assessing the environmental consequences of production methods.  Although it is taught through the Industrial Design program, it is relevant for any student concerned with the relationship between the environment and modern society.  

This course explores issues of sustainability and social responsibility in product design with an emphasis on materials and supply chain flows. The importance of the designer’s role in understanding the environmental and social consequences of creating and producing products will be emphasized. Intended for the advanced undergraduate, studies on the impacts of production and consumption will be covered through readings, class discussions, and lecture materials. Students will be introduced to tools to assess the environmental impacts of products and services to create baseline models; their findings will be used to develop alternative concepts that reduce environmental impacts of products.  Fall 2013: Wednesdays, 2pm-4:50pm.  2 credit hours.

SUST 405-01 Production, Consumption, and Waste has three seats available as of this morning. The seminar examines the ways production and consumption patterns from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the present day have shaped the waste stream, the ways we have defined and handled waste, the consequences of that waste, and ways in which we might reduce the impact of our waste.  Here’s a quick summary:

SUST 405-01 Production, Consumption, and Waste
No product or building is adequately designed without considering the consequences of its deterioration and disposal. Evaluating the ways in which consumers. states, and manufacturers define and classify waste allows us to consider those consequences. In this course, students analyze ways in which waste is created, defined, and managed in industrial society, and they create recommendations for improving problems with the waste stream.

Fall 2013: Tuesdays, 2pm-4:50pm.  3 credit hours.

The range of topics will in many ways resemble the scope of the Encyclopedia of Consumption and Waste: The Social Science of Garbage, as I kept in mind that reference work’s utility in the classroom when I was editing it.  (Students will not have to buy that book, let alone lug it around!)  We have our first meeting tomorrow.

I am also leading a team of Pratt Institute faculty teaching the third offering of SUST 201-01 The Sustainable Core, which starts this afternoon.  This course is designed as our introduction to sustainability and is an excellent way to get familiar with the many ways sustainability is practiced at Pratt.  We’ve raised the enrollment cap on SUST 201-01 to 25 students, so we have space available for students interested in the minor.

SUST 201-01 The Sustainable Core
This course provides an overview of sustainability by exploring definitions, controversies, trends, and case-studies in various systems and locales (urban/rural, local/national/global). Investigation of critical elements of sustainability, including environmental history and urban ecology, sustainable development and landscape transformations, recycling/waste management, ecosystem restoration, and environmental justice.

Fall 2013: Mondays, 2pm-4:50pm.  3 credit hours.

Both of these courses may count as a Social Science or Philosophy elective, SUST 201 is required for the Sustainability Studies minor, SUST 405 is an elective for the minor, and there are no prerequisites for either of them. If you are a Pratt student and have any questions about these courses, please feel free to contact me at

We are excited to bring students the opportunity to take these courses either for the minor or as electives, and we are looking forward to the start of a productive and interesting semester.

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